Stripes and How to Wear Them

Friday 17th of April 2015

Stripes and How To Wear Them

How to wear your stripes.


Nothing says Spring like a classic Breton stripe staple.

April 2015

But how should YOU wear stripes?  Body shapes and the direction of the stripe should be taken into consideration before embarking on this lovely nautical look. This season you can find stripes in everything be it blazers, tops, trousers, shoes, bags, hats, watches, socks and lots of other accessories.

Here are some tips on which stripes to wear with different body shapes.

Neat Hourglass Figure

Anyone with balanced, angular, shoulders and hips, rather than curves, and who also have a defined waist fits into this category.  You are lucky as your top and bottom are in proportion so you can wear stripes any way you want to – enjoy it!

Full Hourglass Figure

If you want to wear stripes, make sure they are all going in the same direction (horizontal) to emphasise your figure.  Horizontal or curved lines that plunge to the waist (taking the eye to the most narrow part of your body) will look better than vertical. Be aware that stripes for curvier figures are better worn as accessories, as a straight line (stripe) isn’t so complementary to a curve, as it is not working in harmony with your body shape. Wider and horizontal lines do create the illusion of volume, whereas narrower horizontal lines are more slimming. A good place to wear narrow lines is on the waist line.


(wider hips than shoulders)

Horizontal stripes are great to help balance the body and create illusions of lengthening or widening where we need it.   You want to wear thick stripes on the top half to help your shoulders look broader, this suggests that your shoulders are now in proportion to your hips – to help this illusion, keep the neck line wide. Choose a neckline like a boat or a bardot. Also wearing tops with a dropped shoulder line, creates the same effect. If you want to wear stripes below the waist, stick to vertical stripes to make your hips and bottom look slimmer, however if you are not confident with an all over stripe, keep the bottom half plain drawing the attention to your top half only.

Inverted TriangleInverted Triangle
(wider shoulders than hips)

Vertical stripes are the ones to choose for this body shape, as the stripe follows the line of the body working with it rather than against it.  If you carry a bit of weight around your tummy, vertical stripes will help to deflect attention from here, as the direction of the stripe encourages the eye to move up and down rather than drawing attention to one area.  Vertical stripes create the illusion of height or length so are also great for petite frames. To create the illusion of more volume on the hips (so your shoulders and hips appear balanced), opt for wider horizontal stripes on your bottom half.

 Oval Oval

What you need are vertical stripes. This kind of stripe will elongate you  and divert attention from your horizontal areas. Try to go for muted and subtle stripes as much as possible, as anything too bold will overpower. As wide stripes add volume to whatever body part you put them on, it would be better to keep them away from your midsection. Instead, wear thin stripes in this area because they’re less heavy and can be slimming. If you would rather not wear a striped outfit but want to keep current, use stripes in your accessories instead – bags, shoes, scarves, even watches. Using accessories to divert attention from any problem areas is a great rule for you – keep details above the bust line and below the hip line.

One more thing to remember about stripes is the size of the stripe compared to your body scale. If you are a petite lady and wear a wide stripe, the pattern may overwhelm you.

If your body frame is:
Petite – stick to a narrow stripe
Average – use a mid scale stripe
Grand- you can choose a wider stripe

Striped dresses 21

Stripes are the easiest of patterns to mix with others – so have some fun and if the mood takes you – get creative. Click Here to see my pintrest board with more examples of how to wear your stripes and the illusions they give.